The day was finally here! I took Friday off as I thought the girls would be arriving Friday but they arrived on a Thursday instead. Which was great since I fell sick with a nasty stomach flu and couldn’t even come to the airport. I spend the whole Friday that I took the leave for just lying in bed. Some of the Malaysian wota welcomed the girls at the airport even though they arrived at 5am.
My first day was nerve wracking. I was 2 hours early as I was not familiar with the place and didn’t want to get lost. Head early to the ticketing counter to grab my tickets and also tickets for Aaron, Jun & Jeremy, 3 Singaporeans I knew from twitter who were also big fans of Stella☆Beats and DJ Kana, the artist opening for Stella☆Beats.They knew me as my real name and I don’t think they know who is Half-san at all (Word soon spread by Day 2 that I was Half and most of the attendees knew by then).
While waiting, I met Jason, Edward, Philips and Roan from MSA48. I immediately introduced myself as Half to Roan, as we’ve been planning to meet up for quite a while. I followed them into the event and had a walk around the area. In front of the stage, there was a man waiting who looked Japanese. I asked and we introduced ourselves to each other. Hideki-san is a huge DJ Kana fan who came all the way from Japan, and he was quite shocked to see me wearing a Stella☆Beats T-shirt. As I figured, he knew Jeremy as well, the other DJ Kana oshi who is coming from Singapore. If I didn’t go to Japan a few months before I would never have the courage to pick up a chat with a random Japanese person. My Japanese comprehension and conversation skills really improved after the trip and Hideki-san was really easy going. While we were chatting, the three Singaporeans arrived and I went ahead to meet them.
DJ Kana and Stella☆Beats was already at the stage for their rehearsals. There, I saw Hibiki (we chatted but haven’t actually met before) but he was busy preparing and managing the girls, so I figured I introduced myself later. DJ Kana was up first and the crowd started warming up with mix and chants even though it was just rehearsals. I’m not familiar with DJ Kana or even anime songs so I stayed back and let everyone else took lead, especially Jeremy & Hideki-san. At that point I was merely gazing at Stella☆Beats, in particular Mana. They were blocked by a few people in front of them but she slanted her body and saw me looking at her, and I did the nerdiest thing I could do, I looked away.
When it was time for Stella☆Beats to do some sound checks, I stayed on the right side of the stage. Again, just following Jun & Aaron’s lead for the calls. After the sound check is over they had around an hour break before the live starts. There, I met 2 more Japanese fans who came over from Japan. Ramen-san and Jyu-san. Ramen-san was very accommodating, even giving out Stella☆Beats singles and signed flyers away. I declined the CDs and let someone else have it as I already own it but I got a random photopack and a signed flyer from him. Funny thing is, I had no problem communicating with Hideki-san but I somehow find Ramen-san hard to understand at times and he finds me the same. So at times, we talked in a mix of both Japanese and English.
Then the live I was waiting for started. DJ Kana started the live and Jeremy and Hideki-san took the lead in all the calls. DJ Kana’s live was very fun and she sang her new single as well, “Ohayo Oyasumi” and “S.N.I“, which will be release in November.
After Kana-chan warmed up the crowds, Stella☆Beats was up next. With Ramen-san and Jun’s guidance we followed the calls and everyone took out their yellow light sticks during Hoshizora Symphony, the new single they will be releasing on 19th Jan (which is today!). I remembered Fantastic Traveler from my last May trip and it brought me back to that day. Seems like everyone at one point or another knew the signature move during the chorus is to throw peace signs. They just started their official youtube channel a few weeks before the trip and it was a great guidance for us to prepare for the live. They even tried their best to speak in Malay and English. Mostly it was Nozomin who tried speaking (and failing cutely) in Malay but that seemed to gain her a few local fans.
Finally, it was buppan (buying goods) time. 1 item can get you 1 ticket and tickets can be exchanged for handshake or cheki. 1 ticket for a handshake, 2 tickets for a cheki with DJ Kana and 3 tickets for a cheki with Stella☆Beats. Since Kana-chan was already there I thought I would support her as well. I bought a DJ Kana A4 bromide and her photopack, giving me 2 tickets which I can exchange for a cheki. Then, I bought 2 Stella☆Beats Malaysian tour T-shirts, A4 bromides of Mana, Rikopin and Nozomin, and a photopack. Giving me 6 tickets which I plan to trade it for 2 chekis with Stella☆Beats .
Kana-chan’s tokuten (cheki or handshake session) started first. Hideki-san and Jeremy were already using their handshake ticket and talking with Kana-chan and it was long! They talked for a looooong time. I didn’t have any watch with me but it was easily more than 5 minutes. Maybe even 10! Granted, not a lot of people were lining up for Kana-chan but it was super nice. I was 4th or 5th in line, so I keep thinking of things to say. In the end, I thought I would just wing it (Never a good idea, Half! God dammit, why do you never learn!).
When it was my turn, I gave my two tickets, waiting to get a cheki. She was excited to see me.
[※All conversations in Japanese]
Me: That was a great live! That’s my first time watching your live. I had fun!
Kana: Thank you! You’re…. Half-san, right? From twitter?
Okay, I did not expect that. At all. I tweeted her once. ONCE. Like a few days ago, saying I’m looking forward to watching her live even though I was a Stella☆Beats fan. That was it. One tweet.
Me: Ehh… You remembered it?
Kana: Yes, you’re a fan of Stella☆Beats, right?
Me: Yeah! Wow, that’s amazing. For you to remember.
Kana: No, no. I just recognized you from your twitter icon.
Me: How do you like Malaysia? It’s hot, right?
Kana: So hot! I’m dripping in sweat right now.
Me: Haha, I know! Please take care and drink more water, okay.
Kana: Will do! Have you been to Japan before?
Me: I did actually, last May. That was when I knew about Stella☆Beats.
Then the staff started hurrying us up with the cheki.
Kana: What pose do you want to do?
Me: Up to you. What do you like?
She initiated the pose and I just followed her lead. It was like a half hug and who was I to deny a hug from an idol. Okay, by this time I was half expecting the staff to shove me to move it. Or for the conversation to die out. Because I’m not used to talking to idols for this long.
Me: Well, I guess I see you for the next live? *starts leaving the line*
Kana: Wait! *grabs my hand*
Oh crap. I was fished.
Kana: Um… what’s the best souvenir I can buy in Malaysia?
Me: Souvenir, huh… What kind of souvenir do you like? Like food or…
Kana: Maybe something Malaysian-like and girly…
Me: I guess… Kain Batik would be nice. (I literally said “Kain Batik” lol)
Me: Ah, it’s like a…. (somehow at this moment of time, I forgot the word sarong)
I started miming how to wear a sarong, which at this point I look like a total blundering idiot.
Me: It’s something you wear, it has very nice patterns.
Kana: How do you say it again?
Me: “Kain Batik”. Umm… I know, I’ll tweet you a picture later!
Kana: Okay, I’ll wait for it. I don’t know if I have time to go out and buy…
Me: Really? It must be a busy 2 days for you, right?
Kana: Yeah, I have to ask later.
By this point, the staff finally asked us to hurry up.
Me: Ok, I’ll watch your live later!
Kana: Thank you! Kain Batik!
Me: Yes, kain batik! Haha.
For 2 tickets, that was way more time than I expected. I had a good talk with her and I got a cheki! She also gave me confidence in my Japanese as I communicated with her easily (except for the kain batik part). I promised myself to go meet her again after the live tonight. She sparked a flame in me and at that moment on, I was interested in this girl.
Finally, the Stella☆Beats tokuten has started. They started with handshake session but no one was going for the line. Ramen-san went ahead first and used up a ticket. I had 6 tickets with me and I was already planning to get 2 chekis. But when I saw there was no one in the lane, I decided to go for a handshake first before I took chekis with them. I followed Ramen-san and the line was Rikopin, Mana and Nozomin.
[※All conversations in Japanese]
Me: Nice to meet you.
Rikopin: Ah, nice to meet you.
Me: Awesome live! Thanks for coming to Malaysia!
Rikopin: Thank you! Wow, your Japanese is great!
Me: No no, just make sure the conversation stay around this level, and don’t use any hard words. Haha.
Rikopin: You’re… Half-san, right?
Me: You know me?
Rikopin: Yeah, you’re from twitter!
Me: That’s right! Wow! That’s awesome. It’s pretty hot today.
Rikopin: Yeah, Malaysia is so hot!
Me: Don’t forget to drink plenty of water!
Me: I made you something, I’ll pass it to the staff later.
Rikopin: Really? Wow, thank you!
By this time, I was hoping for Ramen-san to quickly finish his talk with Mana, as I was running out of things to say. Good thing the staff started pushing us.
Me: I’ll take a cheki later as well! See you again!
Rikopin: Thank you! See you again!
Then, the moment arrived. I quickly shook Mana’s hand and she has the most welcoming and warm expression ever. She immediately recognized me.
I can’t contain my smile. And was speechless.
Me: Yup, I’m Half. Haha.
Mana: We finally meet!!
Me: That’s right!
Mana: I’m so glad!
Me: I’m so happy!
Mana: How was the live?
Me: It was amazing! Everyone was amazing!
Mana: Your Japanese is really good, you know!
Somehow she knew I still had reservations about my Japanese. I was half-assed at best, I knew that, but a praise from her was everything to me.
Me: No no. It’s still bad.
Mana: But you understand me, right?
Me: I do!
Mana: Good, that’s important to me.
Me: It’s pretty hot now, so drink plenty of water.
Jeez, I don’t know why I keep going back to this line. Perhaps I was taken aback by her previous comment.
Mana: Yup, got a bottle right here. *points to her drink*
Me: Oh, the bromide photos are so pretty. Hibiki-san takes really great photos.
Mana: Right? The photos looks good!
Me: But, your spelling… Leader is spelled with an ‘L’ not ‘R’ haha.
Mana: I know! I noticed that. Sorry.
Me: No, no, it’s fine. Reader still means something, maybe you can be the leader that likes to read.
Mana: Hahaha. I will spell it right next time.
Me: Haha, okay.
Mana: Coming to the next live?
Me: Of course, and also a cheki later!
I didn’t want to let Mana’s hand go but the staff starts pushing me by this time. So next up was Nozomin.
Me: Wait, you recognize me?
Nozomin: Oh, I just heard Mana yelling your name.
I swear, this idiot. XD She got me laughing literally 3 seconds after I met her.
Me: Well, it’s nice to meet you.
Nozomin: Nice to meet you.
Me: How do you find Malaysia?
Nozomin: IT’S REALLY HOT. REALLY HOT.
Me: Hahaha, it really is. Take care and remember to drink lots of water.
What is wrong with me? I swear I keep telling them to drink more water. This is what happens when you don’t prepare topics to talk about, Half.
Me: Ummm… You like Melonpan, right?
Me: Well, I made something for you, I’ll pass it to the staff later.
Nozomin: Really?? Wahhh, thank you!
Me: I’ll take a cheki later too.
Nozomin: Thank you!
We took a cheki later, and I was being my awkward self as I wasn’t thinking of what pose to do. Later we queued up again for them to sign our cheki and I got to talk to them again. I know it might seem smug, but I felt good when other people were asked what is their names for them to write on the cheki and they didn’t ask for mine as they knew it right away. :3
Rikopin signed normally and left the message part blank. Partly, I think she knew that Mana wanted to write something, or maybe she knew that I wanted Mana to write something. We didn’t talk much but I told her I’m looking forward to the second live. Then it was Mana’s turn to sign.
Mana: *looks at the cheki* How cute.
Mana: Ne… thank you for coming.
Me: Eh, no no. Thank YOU for coming.
Me: I was kinda nervous.
Mana: No, you did good. I saw you.
Me: Ramen-san and Jun-kun took the lead. They’re so kind.
Mana: They are. *hands me cheki* There you go.
Me: See you later.
Then I head to Nozomin and she took the cheki. While signing…
Nozomin: Wait, what’s your favorite food?
Me: Me? Uh….
Okay, I never had an idol asked me that question before. Also, that was not a question I frequently has an answer for. So it got me thinking.
Me: Japanese food, I guess? I like sushi.
Nozomin: Sushi? Ikura!
Me: I like unagi (eel).
Nozomin: Unagi? Unagi!! So, it’s unagi!!!
I swear she is like a little idiot getting excited over the word unagi, it’s adorable. By this time, the staff started tapping my shoulder so I finally left her with the both of us pointing finger guns at each other while shouting unagi.
That was basically my first interaction with them. And it was amazing. Mana, in particular. It felt so natural, like I’ve been interacting with her as usual. When it was actually the first time we’ve ever interact face to face. Nozomin was hilarious, and was much more of a ditz that I expected her to be. Rikopin gave me the most idol-like vibe. It got awkward towards the end as I didn’t have much to say with her. But she was pleasant, and obviously remembered me when I only tweeted her once or twice so bonus points on her part.
I met up with Hibiki after tokuten ended and passed him the gifts I made for the girls. It was hand-sewn felt keychains, which I made myself. A cinderella for Mana, mini-tomatoes for Rikopin and melonpan for Nozomin.
Anyway, it was quite a few hours before the evening live starts so I head over to my car and store away some of the merchandise I bought. I was still not feeling 100% well so after taking my medicines I just stayed in my car to get some rest. Between the 1st live and 2nd, I was chatting with the people in the Kamen Gaijin group online. It suddenly dawned on me that I wanted to have a cheki pose with our Kamen Gaijin’s signature kaomoji.
Which was this: ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)
I don’t know if the girls are up for it but I was already anticipating the live. For the 2nd live of Day 1, in was held in the huge hall. Kana-chan started with DJ-ing all the anime songs I wasn’t familiar about. But it was a great and energetic live.
Stella☆Beats was up next and by this time I finally got the hang of the mix and calls for their songs. I got a good view right at first row thanks to everyone’s kindness as I was at the far back during Kana-chan’s live.
Buppan started again and I bought 3 more items, 2 photopacks of Kana-chan and 1 of Stella☆Beats. Now I have 2 Kana-chan tickets and including the 2 tickets letover that I bought earlier in the day I have a total of 3 Stella☆Beats tickets. Enough for a cheki. Even Hideki-san noticed I was lining up for Kana-chan again and he was happy when I told him I enjoyed talking with Kana-chan.
[※All conversations in Japanese]
Me: Kana-chan! Did you see my tweet?
Kana: I did! So that’s “Kain Batik”?
Me: Yes! Something like that. The pattern was nice, right?
Kana: Yeah! It’s so Malaysian-like!
Me: I think they sell it around here, there’s a lot of shopping mall in this area.
Kana: Ah, is that so?
Me: Kana-chan, can we do a funny pose for cheki?
Kana: What is it?
Me: It’s this. *shows my phone and points to ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)*
Me: Hahahaha. Wanna do it?
Kana: Why this pose?
Me: It’s just my favorite kaomoji. You wanna do it?
Kana: Let me see it again.
Me: *shows her my phone again ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)*
Kana: Like this?
Kana: What is the meaning of this kaomoji?
Me: Err… I’m not sure, it’s angry perhaps?
Kana: Why do you like this pose?
Me: I find it funny, haha.
Me: Can I upload it to twitter later?
Kana: Okay. Will you be coming tomorrow?
Me: Of course. See you tomorrow. Thank you for today.
I have to say the cheki was perfection. Not only did she nailed the pose and the expression, she was pretty sporting about the weird request. Next, is Stella☆Beats. I didn’t went for handshake this time because I figured I could talk to them during the cheki signing. You see, I approach them and before I could utter, “Hey, let’s do a funny pose.”, Mana just did something special and I forgot to function. Normally, I wouldn’t mind showing the cheki, I would blur myself out anyway. But, this one is special so I’ll keep it for myself. After being over-the-top joy, I went over to get my cheki signed.
[※All conversations in Japanese]
Rikopin: Hehe, cute.
Me: Did you open the present?
Rikopin: Oh my god, yes! I did! Thank you! You’re so smart!
Me: No, no, it’s nothing. I know you like onigiri but…
Rikopin: Yeah, it’s quite hard to do onigiri.
Me: So I got you a mini tomato.
Rikopin: Mini tomatoes are fine too, I like it!
Me: I’m glad.
Rikopin: Here you go, thank you for coming today.
Me: Thanks for your hard work.
Mana: You’re a genius, aren’t you?
Mana: The present.
Me: Oh no, it’s nothing. Did you like it?
Mana: I love it!
Me: Then, I’m glad.
Mana: Ne, Half-chan. Thank you for replying my tweets, commenting on my blogs. And namamails too.
Me: Thank you for reading them.
Mana: I read them all you know.
Me: It makes me happy you read them.
Mana: How much do you like Stella☆Beats?
Me: So much! Can I be a Stellato? (Stellato is what Stella☆Beats fans are called)
Mana: You’re always a Stellato.
Me: *smiles* Thank you for your hard work today.
Mana: See you tomorrow.
Me: See you tomorrow.
Me: Did you open the present?
Nozomin: Yes! The melonpan is so cute!!
Me: Really? I thought it was real bad… Since I never sew melonpans before..
Nozomin: No, i like it! I have it on my bag!
Me: Ehhh… No way!
Nozomin: Really! And the one with my name as well.
Me: Yup, I sewed everyone’s name too.
Nozomin: Really, I love it! I will treasure it forever! HUG! LOVE! (She screamed HUG! LOVE! in English)
Me: Hahaha thank you! (In my heart: It’s just a keychain, calm down.)
Oh, god. I feel bad being suspicious towards her but it was so fun watching her defend herself. I was really glad she liked it actually because I felt that the melonpan was the worse of the bunch. Overall, it was a really great day. Best I ever had. After I look over at my cheki to see what Mana has written she wrote “ずーっとステラート” which means forever a Stellato.
Overall, for the 1st day I took a total of 4 chekis. Twice with Kana-chan and twice with Stella☆Beats. I met a bunch of new friends as well. Not to mention, DJ Kana and Stella☆Beats gained a lot of new fans (which will be apparent when more people starts to line up for handshake and cheki on Day 2). I didn’t want it to end, but if I didn’t go to sleep tomorrow would never start.